Tuition free STEM research course offered to high school students at UMaine Hutchinson Center

Penbay article.

Two Students Conducting Field Research in Belfast Bay

BELFAST — Registration is open for an innovative five-week college STEM research course for qualified high school students (grade 10–12) offered by the University of Maine, June 28–July 30, at the UMaine Hutchinson Center, in Belfast.

Introduction to Integrated Science and Career Exploration (INT 188) will meet Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 8 a.m.– noon. High school students will earn three college credits upon completion of the course.

The course is offered tuition-free for qualified high school students. Students who pay to attend high school in Maine, including out-of-state and international students, will be charged a reduced Early College rate.

This innovative course with a low student-teacher ratio provides a unique summer opportunity for students in Midcoast Maine who are interested in exploring STEM-related careers and engaging in a research project. Thirty percent of class time will be spent outdoors doing fieldwork, with the remainder spent in the classroom and lab at the Hutchinson Center. Strict social distancing protocols will be observed both in the classroom and in the field.

INT 188 is designed to introduce high school students to higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The course includes lecture and laboratory instruction in data collection and analysis, experimental design, measuring and graphic techniques, scientific writing, and evidence-based thinking.

Students will participate in group work, a research project in environmental chemistry or environmental biology, a career-planning assignment focusing on STEM fields, career exploration experiences, and a final research symposium on July 30. In previous years, INT 188 students have used this opportunity to research environmental issues in the Belfast/Midcoast area, such as the impact of the presence of microplastics in the bay.

Course instructors Susan Therio and Dave Thomas are UMaine adjunct faculty members teaching chemistry and oceanography courses, respectively. Prior to coming to UMaine, Therio was an industry chemist in environmental and hydrocolloid fields. Thomas, a high school science teacher for over 18 years, spent four years as a research technician in northern Wisconsin and Michigan studying ecological changes.

To register, visit For more information about the course content contact Chris Tremblay, 338.8038; christopher.james.tremblay@

About the Hutchinson Center:

The Hutchinson Center is an outreach center for the University of Maine in Orono, that serves as an educational and cultural center for the midcoast area. It is named for University of Maine President Emeritus Frederick E. Hutchinson. The mission of the Hutchinson Center is to broaden access to University of Maine academic and non-degree programs and services, lifelong learning opportunities, and professional and career development experiences using innovative approaches that increase synergy among University of Maine System entities, University of Maine departments and divisions, and that engage a wider Maine community.

About the University of Maine:

The University of Maine, founded in Orono in 1865, is the state’s land grant, sea-grant, and space-grant university. It is located on Marsh Island in the homeland of the Penobscot Nation.  As Maine’s flagship public university, UMaine has a statewide mission of teaching, research and economic development, and community service. UMaine is the state’s only public research university and among the most comprehensive higher education institutions in the Northeast. It attracts students from all 50 states and more than 75 countries. UMaine currently enrolls 11,741 undergraduate and graduate students who have opportunities to participate in groundbreaking research with world-class scholars. UMaine offers more than 100 degree programs through which students can earn master’s, doctoral, or professional science master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. The university promotes environmental stewardship, with substantial efforts campuswide to conserve energy, recycle and adhere to green building standards in new construction. For more information about UMaine, visit